A former owner of The Apopka Chief and The Planter, and a longtime community supporter well after his retirement 40 years ago, W.R. “Mac” McGuffin died Tuesday, June 11, at Advent Health Apopka. He was 96. McGuffin and his family moved to Apopka in 1964 after he retired as a master sergeant and intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force. He began The Planter in October 1965 as a competitor newspaper to The Apopka Chief before purchasing the Chief two years later and publishing both newspapers until selling them and retiring in 1979. He also owned several other local businesses, Apopka Printing, Apopka Photo, and Apopka Office Supply. In addition, McGuffin published Florida Boater magazine and College Park Record, an Orlando-area newspaper. He was preceded in death by his wife, Delores, who died in 2000.
“He taught me so much in his life, and continues to teach me even in his death,” son Pat McGuffin wrote in a Facebook post. “I used to say that Dad taught me how to think and my mom, who passed 19 years ago, taught me to love. I was wrong. He taught me how to love, too, in so many ways. “Dad didn’t just talk; he accomplished. His push in life: get the job done. He loved his family deeply, his community continually, and his country without fail.” Daughter Kathy McGuffin Palmere also posted about her father on Facebook. “He was truly the smartest man I ever met, a true genius,” she wrote. “He always amazed me with the trivia in his head about so many subjects; so many things he did and places he saw around the world in his 96 years. “Since my mom passed 19 years ago, he loved to reminisce with stories about their travels and how much he loved her and how much he missed her. I will look back and think of how he never gave up wanting to learn something new and different, even though he was blind. He missed terribly not being able to read newspapers and books; it just broke my heart for him. “I will remember the many lives he touched in big ways and small ways, and of how he loved this community of Apopka and his country. My dad was military through and through. He loved us like crazy. He loved his grandchildren and great-grands. He lit up when any of us walked in the room.” Longtime friend John Ricketson, publisher of The Apopka Chief and The Planter, knew Mac McGuffin for many years. “Apopka lost a good friend with the passing of former owner and publisher of The Apopka Chief and founder of The Planter newspaper,” Ricketson said. “Having known Mac McGuffin and wife Delores, who was his soulmate, and his family for 40 plus years now, I can say he truly loved this community and more than that, he dearly loved his family. “He was a warrior for things that he believed in and supported. As a charter member of the Foliage Sertoma Club, he helped with many community events and was always looking for ways to make Apopka a better place. He was a good friend and he will be missed by many in the community who knew him.” Mac McGuffin was born in Proctorville, Ohio, on February 6, 1923, but grew up in Manchester, Ohio, which sits on the north side of the Ohio River, across from northern Kentucky. Growing up, his family made its living from the river, operating a dredging business, as well as ferry boats. The family also owned a cement factory. He joined the Air Force in the early 1940s, serving in World War II. During his time serving his country in the military, McGuffin was introduced to a redhead named Delores Fackender from Butler, Penn. They met briefly in California, but then saw each other again at a snack bar at the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., where they both worked, he as a member of the military, she as a civilian. They married in 1952 as McGuffin continued to serve in the Air Force. Through the years, McGuffin traveled to 41 countries and decided he wanted to settle down in the Orlando area. He took some time to decide exactly where and after touring throughout the area, decided that Apopka would be where he would settle with his family that included his wife and two children. He immediately made an impact on the Apopka community with his newspaper and continued that throughout the years. During his newspaper years, McGuffin met with Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan either individually or in a press conference. Even after he retired, the McGuffins stayed very active in the community, at one time chairing what was known as the Florida Hospital Apopka Foundation Board, raising funds for a new emergency department at the hospital. McGuffin was an active member of the Foliage Sertoma Club of Apopka, serving for many years as chairman of the very popular Apopka Christmas Parade. He was also a district governor for Sertoma clubs in Central Florida. He also served as a city commissioner for a brief time in the 1970s, and he was on the city’s zoning board for many years. When he owned the newspapers, he was very active in the Florida Press Association. McGuffin was involved with the Boy Scouts, having been feted at a Golden Eagle Award luncheon in his honor. In addition, he worked with the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce and the Apopka Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association. He was a longtime member of the First United Methodist Church of Apopka. McGuffin contributed financially to the Apopka High School JROTC program, as well as the Miss Apopka Scholarship Pageant. In addition to son, Patrick, and daughter, Kathleen, McGuffin is also survived by another son, Mike Perry; brother, Sandy, of California; and eight grandchildren.
Visitation is set for Saturday, June 22, from 10-11 a.m. at First United Methodist Church of Apopka, 201 S. Park Avenue. The funeral service will follow at 11 a.m. Loomis Family Funeral Homes is handling the arrangements, and a reception will follow at Loomis, 420 W. Main St., Apopka.
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